In table tennis in Guyana, women have been mainly players with few opting for administrative or officiating roles.
International Table Tennis Federation Level One coach Candacy Mc Kenzie belongs to the latter group.
Mc Kenzie, believe it or not is a coach and one who is making a difference, make that a tremendous impact, in the sport of ping pong in Guyana.
In fact, as a coach, McKenzie is using the sport of table tennis to break down barriers on the East Bank of Demerara where she recently conducted a “Breaking Down Barriers with Table Tennis Balls” programme.
Mc Kenzie earlier this year participated in the ITTF Basic Umpires and Tournament Referees course, held here by ITTF Umpires Course Instructor Silvia Garro of Argentina.
The enthusiastic Mc Kenzie, who can often be seen at local tournaments organized by the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA), umpiring, assisting with tournament draws and fixtures has a passion for the development of the sport of table tennis.
With the support of the parent body, who provided Mc Kenzie with balls racquets, scoring counters and barriers, she decided to organise a summer training camp for children ages six to 15 in the Grove and Craig East Bank Demerara area where she resides, with the stated aim of helping them to be skilled in the sport which can be played either competitively or as a pastime.
“Her intention, as she outlined it, was to use her knowledge and certification to coach youths in the area in view of giving them the opportunity to learn a lifelong learned skill,” a release from the GTTA stated.
She also wanted to “introduce and orient kids to the sport of table tennis in a fun way in the hope of having them become national representatives whilst developing the sport on the East Bank of Demerara and to establish her own club,” the release added.
Using her family’s spacious enclosed ground floor Juju Place, Grove, EBD which has the capacity to hold two tables, she visited house-to-house in the community to get parents and children involved in the programme resulting in some 40 participants enrolling in the programme which took place from August 18-30 at Jugo’s Place, Grove, EBD.
“It was a pleasure to see her aptly going through her instructions with the kids and their attentive ears as some parents looked on with admiration,” said a GTTA executive.
“Her sessions ran from 9.30 to 12 for the 6 to 11 age group and 1 -4 pm for 11 -15 age group, truly a wonderful initiative.
“The kids stayed beyond the structured period to play and the area is now a hive of activity with table tennis taking centre stage,” the official added.
At the conclusion of the camp, Mc Kenzie expressed her appreciation to the Guyana Table Tennis Association.
She also extended gratitude to all the parents/guardians who allowed their child/children the opportunity to participate in the programme.
Mc Kenzie declared that with the interest and determination shown by the players, some of them will definitely perform well in the future.
“I am eager to continue working with them in the future in after school and on weekends and in school programmes because they all have potential,” she declared.